The Olympiastadion was originally opened for the 1936 Summer Olympic Games in Germany. Like a lot of Nazi architecture, it was designed as propaganda to impress the world and showcase the so-called strength and superiority of the Aryan race. Of course, history remembers it differently, for the 1936 Olympics were almost singled-handedly won by African American athlete Jesee Owens. Awkard.
The modern stadium, which was renovated ahead of the 2006 football World Cup is a wonderful 74,475-seater arena, which hosts a number of sporting and entertainment events. Famously, it is there that Zidane was sent off for headbutting an opponent.
I really liked it. The Olympiastadion is modern arena with a mobile roof and the latest artificial illumination tech, but it has an antic feel to it reminiscent of Ancient Rome. It’s made of concrete, but looks like it’s been carved in stone. It is completely sober, untouched by the big sponsorship banners and colourful logos which generally headline football stadiums. It is a real temple of sport.
The entry gate is imposing and breathtaking, as is the 10-ton Olympic Bell, now a memorial, which can still be spotted by taking a walk around the stadium.
On site remain the now empty Olympic torch stand, as well as the names of the 1936 Olympic victors. A few of the names belonging to the original officials and commissioners involved have been removed, for obvious reasons. I didn’t get the chance to visit the stadium during a specific event, but really enjoyed touring it in the peace and quiet of a sunny day. Would recommend the visit, especially if you’re a sports fan. Here are a few more pictures:
The Olympiastadion is opened from 10 am-4 pm in Nov-Mar, 9 am-7 pm in Apr-Oct and 9 am-8 pm in Aug (why so many different time brackets?!). Standard entry is 7€, with deals available for kids and families. It’s easily available using the U-Bahn underground trains, and only 24 minutes from Potsdamer Platz and 34 minutes from Alexanderplatz.